Brrrrr, It’s Cold.

courtesy of Christmas w/a K

courtesy of Christmas w/a K

I’m having moderate success with my daily exercise commitment.  I’ve managed to exercise a little bit every day since the beginning of the year.  I’m feeling more energized during the day and I feel a little stronger than when I started.  That’s the good from this.

Now for the bad.  It’s cold.  When it’s cold like this, I have zero desire to get out and do some appropriate cardio.  Also, when I’m stuck inside I tend to eat more.  I’m eating better than I used to, but my calorie intake isn’t low enough to yield weight loss.  My weight is basically just holding steady.

So, in summary:  I’m still exercising daily.  It’s not enough.  I’m eating too much.  My weight is holding steady.

October Weight Loss Update

This has been a spectacularly crappy month for me.  I ended th month at 267 lbs which puts me at a 1.2 pound gain!  The month started off with a week of vacationing and overindulgence.  After vacation I didn’t jump back on things like I should have; so I basically just maintained.  Just look at the graph.

 

October Weight Loss Update

October Weight Loss Update

Losing weight is going to be hard these last 2 months.  It’s getting colder, and I really won’t feel like running in the freezing temperatures.  I’m going to give it a go though because losing weight is all about momentum.  I’m sure the holidays won’t do much to help, but I can be good on the non holiday days.  I need to finish this year strong!

The Cost of Healthy Eating

Photo courtesy of churl

As an employee in the healthcare industry, I’m privileged enough to hear the gripes and moans about the problems with our nation’s healthcare system.  There is a large strain on the country because of the rising costs of healthcare.  I’m sure there are plenty of things that could be amended in the current system, but we shouldn’t be so quick to point our fat fingers at everyone else.  Our nation is facing an obesity epidemic that I believe is a major source of the strain on our healthcare system.

According to the CDC, studies are showing that obesity rates are increasing in both adults and children.  The studies they mention span from 1976-1980 for the first and from 2003-2004 for the second.  Adult obesity rates rose from 15% to 32.9%.  In a 25 year time span, obesity rates among adults have more than doubled! What’s even more mind-boggling is the obesity rates among children.  In that same time span, obesity rates in children ages 12-19 rose from 5% to 17.4%.  In that same time span, childhood obesity has more than tripled!

Now that I’m becoming extremely conscious of what I’m eating, I’m coming to realize that healthy food just costs more money.  The December 2007 issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association shows the findings from the University of Washington on the subject.  Their article, The Rising Cost of Low-Energy-Density Foods found that energy dense foods (junk food) cost only $1.76 per 1,000 calories where the least energy dense foods (healthy food) cost $18.16 per 1,000 calories.  Not only that, but the price increase from 2004-2006 for the healthier foods was 19.5% whereas the junk food price dropped in price by 1.8%. 

Since Ashley and I have been eating healthier (lean meats, fruits, and vegetables) I’ve seen our weekly grocery bill increase by about 30%.  Keep in mind, this is without us buying sodas.  We’re buying less food and spending more money on it all.  It’s quite depressing.  There’s no way that a lower income family could afford the higher cost of healthier food.

[Cross Posted from digitalBush.]

Online Fitness Tracking Face Off: Traineo vs. Gyminee

One of the most important things to do when starting to lose weight is keeping a good journal of what you are doing and what you plan to do.  While this is one of the best methods for meeting your goals, it always been the most tedious part of the whole routine.   Like a lot of people, I live for the here and now and only look forward.  While I recognize the benefit of maintaining important data, the time needed to keep that log and maintain it just seems pointless.  Well… no more.  In the age of Web 2.0, RIAs, and kick ass mobile devices, keeping track of your workout routine is no longer a hassle.  It’s now fun and motivating.  There are a TON of online (and offline) fitness tracking applications, including FitDay, Online Fitness Log, and even WeightWatchers. Today, we will be looking at two free online apps: Traineo and Gyminee.

Part 1: Traineo.com

George's Traineo Homepage

I really like Traineo’s design.  It is slick, easy to navigate, and even easier to use.  After you set up your account and set your goals, you can easily see your progress in the upper right hand corner.  You are able to quickly, and I mean quickly, enter your weight and workouts for the day and see you progress on a pretty graph.  The workout entry system is extremely simple: “What did you do today?”  “Crunches, 10 min, it was hard.”  You are limited to 3 workouts a day though.  So if you like mixing it up by walking, running, weight training, and making love (yes, making love is considered a workout), you are going to have to leave something off.  You can also make custom logs, such as distance run or … Cans of Tuna?  Hmmm, I guess that is useful…?  Traineo also has a nice group system in which you can join together with others that have similar goals and interests and motivate each other via the groups’ forums.  Where I feel Traineo is lacking is in it nutrition tracking system.  It gives you two sliders: How did you eat today, poor->outstanding.  And how many calories did you eat.  It then gives you a link to the USDA food database.  I think this is a weak way to track your nutrition.  This means I will have to keep track of food all day on …. *gasp* pen and paper, and then enter it at the end of the night or the next day.  Overall, Traineo is a great site.

Part 2: Gyminee.com

George's Gyminee Homepage

Gyminee has a great design.  Big links for the major site areas make for easy navigation with drop down menus to get you to the sub sections.  The “Locker Room” shows you your weight (with a really nice graph), your goal, and a quick way to tell whether you have met your fitness and nutrition goals.  You can also see your Gym Friends’ status and enter quick journals.  You can set what workouts you want to do, walking or the Hundred Pushups challenge, for example.  You then track the progress you have made on each workout.  Where Gyminee really shines is the nutrition tracking.  It has a quick search for foods and their nutritional facts, very quick and tons of foods in the database.  You can add each food item you eat for the day and it will track the calorie intake and give you a breakdown of where your calories are coming from… very nice.  Gyminee also has groups with forums and challenges, where you can challenge your friends or the community to different competitions, such as weight lost, distance ran, pounds benched, etc.  Oh, did I mention Twitter integration and an iPhone app?  Gyminee also maintains a great fitness and nutrition blog.

Part 3: Face-off

Category Traineo Gyminee Aditional Comments
Design

It’s a tie! Both sites have a great design. They are organized well and are easy on the eyes.
Navigation

I’m going to have to give it to Gyminee on this one. Gyminee has one set of bold menus with drop down sub menus vs. Traineo’s 3 rows of different menus. That being said, neither site was hard to work through, so this decision was made on my personal preference.
Weight Tracking

Both site make tracking your current weight and your weight goal a breeze. One thing I like about Traineo’s weight graph is it scales the Y-Axis to the weight values you have entered. So my 3lb. loss over the last week looks like a very happy downward sloping line. This is very motivating. Gyminee, on the other hand, scales the graph to include your target weight goal, so my 3lb loss looks like nothing on the graph spanning 30 pounds, but I do like the fact that I can visually see my progress towards my goal. They both have their benefits, and I’m conflicted on which I like best, so…. A tie!
Workout Tracking

Once again both sites have their pros and cons, and it depends on what you are looking for. Traineo makes entering your workouts so simple. Click a workout, rate your exertion, then click OK. Gyminee is a little more complex, but with that complexity comes some great features. For example, to tell Gyminee you have done some exercise, you have to choose or create a workout for that exercise. Then you can submit your progress towards that workout. This just seems like two many steps to record that I walked a mile.  However, the benefits of doing it this way is that you can choose or create workout plans that lay out how exactly many miles or minutes you want to run, how much weight or how many reps you want to curl, etc. For me, having this forethought into my workout just brings me so much more motivation.  Instead of printing out my Couch-to-5K routine, I can just go look at what I am supposed to do on Gyminee.  But I can’t discount the benefits of just how easy Traineo is to record with no prior setup. Once again, a tie.
Diet Tracking

No question for me, Gyminee wins this. The ability to break down your calorie intake and specify the exact foods you eat (and also choose your favorite food for even quicker entry later on) makes Gyminees diet tracker the winner.
Community

I would have to say Traneo has a better community. The numbers don’t lie:

  • Gyminee: 576 topics, 2,599 posts, 430 voices
  • Traineo: Total Number of Signed Up Users » 91550 Total Number of Topics » 6337 Total Number of Replies » 68430
Features

Gyminee just seems to be more in line with providing features. They have more visualizations, better social connectivity, video examples of workouts, and mobility integration. Not to mention the ability to upgrade to a pro account that goes above just pure tracking, and adds total fitness and diet planning and professional workout plans.

Part 4: Final Thoughts

Both sites are great.  Traineo is extremely easy to use and takes very little time to record my data, so much so that it was part of my nightly shutdown routine within a week.  Gyminee got my geek blood pumping with the sweet design and bundle of cool features.  While it took longer to get my workouts and favorite foods set up, the pre-planned workout routines and accurate calorie tracking got me motivated to work out and eat right.

I really like both of these sites and I could recommend either of them.  But, since I hate sites that give comparisons, but no suggestions, I will tell you which one I am choosing to stick with…

Part 5: George’s Pick

I couldn’t resist all of those features. And with the continuous release of new features, Gyminee seems to be top-notch and only getting better.  You can follow my progress on my Gyminee public profile

As always though, in the world of technology, today’s results are most likely outdated by tonight. So please comment to tell us about your favorite tracking program or let me know if you feel that I missed an important topic. Also just let us know if you like the style of the product comparison. Given some good feedback, we would like to continue these face-offs as a regular topic and make them better and more suited to what you want to know.